I’m going to start with the point in my life where I started to take a turn for the worse. My relationship with my mom led to this turn. My mom was the person I was supposed to trust the most, right? Well, I did, however, she was the person who introduced me to meth. I was only 12, so what I wanted most was my mom to love me and want to be around me so I did the drugs with her. At that time, I loved it. I finally had my mom in my life and she actually seemed to want me in her life. I continued to use, skip school and chase the high. This went on for a few years until I finally quit school when I was 15. Eventually, I got into a relationship with a drug dealer who I fell head over heels in love with. Not only was I in love with him, I was in love with the money and the endless supply of drugs.
At this point in my life, everything started to get really dark because of the mental, physical and emotional abuse from my boyfriend. He would hit me, apologize, and say it would never happen again. One day we were arguing and I made the mistake of saying “I’ll just call the cops and have you arrested.” That was a big no-no. This led to me being tied to a chair and physically beat by him and his dad for hours. A couple months later, I was able to escape from this abuse but I wound up homeless, still on drugs, and hating life. I would get random, short-term jobs but never keep them.
When I was 23, I caught my first felony charge for stealing my sister’s car and not returning it. This was the beginning of my involvement with the criminal justice system. I did 120 days in the department of corrections, got out and went to live with my dad. I was doing good but we all know going back to the same place, same people, and same things is never good. I started using again. I had two children, ages two and three, but my dad had guardianship of them so I knew they were taken care of. So, I continued to do what I knew best–getting high.
My dad kicked me out, which led to me getting a residency violation on my probation and going back to prison. I went back to prison three times because I always got out with bad intentions. I got out in 2016 and met a man named Matt. Boy, that makes my stomach upset even saying that name; let me tell you why. From the beginning Matt and I were inseparable, kind of like Bonnie and Clyde. It was toxic from the moment I laid eyes on him but he wasn’t physically abusive so I thought I had it made.
"I wanted to keep going to see what else I was capable of."
I got pregnant, but was still using so when I had baby Dylan the state stepped in and took him. In my mind I tried to fight for him, but I knew I wasn't trying hard enough. I ended up being forced to sign the papers and give my son up for adoption. All the while, Matt and I stayed together doing drugs, stealing, running from probation and parole cops, and secluding ourselves. Two years later I ended up pregnant again.
I knew that the best thing for my unborn child was to put him up for adoption. So, I decided to contact the mother of Dylan and ask her to take this child too. It was planned and this was about to be the biggest turning point of my life. I was seven and a half months pregnant, still homeless and on the run, but sober.
Matt and I were at his friend’s house taking a rest and he decided it was time to go. I pleaded with him because I needed more time off my feet. They were so swollen. He didn’t take no for an answer. He grabbed me up and said, “You’re going to do what I tell you.” He became enraged, threw me down on the ground and stomped me in my face. I thought I was about to die. While he was stomping me, I rolled on my side away from him to protect my baby. He then stomped me in my lower back and I rolled to the other side in an instant reaction. Then the blow to my stomach happened. His friend Larry looked down at me and let his 150 lb. pit bull loose and he latched on to my face. I have the scars, on my face, to forever remind me of this abuse as well as my willingness to survive and live.
I raised up and crawled out the door, got up holding my stomach and walked down the road. A lady named Kelly Barber saved my life. She pulled over, put me in her car, and took me to the police station. They instantly got an ambulance there and took me to the hospital. I was rushed from there to St. Mary’s in St. Louis. My kidneys and liver were completely failing but my son and I were both alive. They did an emergency induction. My son Kamdyn was born with a punctured lung and had to be in the NICU for two months. I was in the hospital for two weeks and when I was released I stayed by my son’s side 24/7. Prior to Kamdyn being released from the hospital we made sure all the adoption paperwork was prepared and the adoptive mom came to get him. He is now three years old and perfectly healthy. I got away from Matt. He is now in prison.
I thought that chapter of my life was over and was happy to be alive. But then some crimes Matt and I committed came back later and I was charged with three counts of burglary, stealing firearms, and breaking and entering. I plead guilty and was sentenced to a year-long treatment program in the department of corrections. I believed this could be the fresh start that I was needing for a long time, so I gave my all in the program and excelled. I took it all in like a sponge, earned my CNA license, 19 various certifications, and at the end of that year I was in the highest structure position called the elder, which was a big accomplishment, especially for me.
I wanted to keep going to see what else I was capable of. I heard about The SoulFisher Ministries and latched onto the idea of a better life. I applied and they accepted me (which I had my doubts, I thought I wasn’t deserving of something good). I started taking pre-release classes like Identity through SoulFisher before ever being released. I got to know Ms. DeNyne and she answered all my questions and concerns about the program. I was excited about this new opportunity.
"I’ve never had anything like it.
SoulFisher is my family. "
I have lived most of my life either for someone or something else. It's never been about me and who I am. I am just now starting to truly find who I am, what I desire, need, and want out of life. I was introduced to drugs, alcohol and the fast life at the young age of 12. Until now, I was never sober for more than 30 days consecutively since I started using 22 years ago. I would search for comfort in the wrong people, hang out at the wrong places and self-medicate because I thought it would numb the feelings, emotions and hate of being abandoned and unloved by so many. I’ve been abused, raped, and even traded off for drugs so much in my life that it got to a point where I thought that this was normal.
I've hurt so many people, damaged my self-esteem, damaged my confidence and sabotaged various things because I never thought I was worthy of anything good. I hated my life for so many years that I didn't even know how to change or where to start.
I was released on September 22, 2022. Ms. DeNyne Carter picked me up from the prison and welcome me with open arms. She spent the whole day showing me around the office, the re-entry housing, and introducing me to the staff. I was home. I could feel it in my heart that this is where I was meant to be. The whole program is to help people. They strive to support us in every way. They are here 24/7 even in the middle of the night. I could call, if needed, and I know they would have my back. I’ve never had anything like it. SoulFisher is my family.
I have now been out for a month. I started classes, began therapy, life coaching, and volunteer tutoring at the ENAL after-school program. It feels good to give back. If my words and story could help the next person then I’m all for it. I will continue to learn and grow to be the best woman I can be. My goals are to successfully complete the AGAPE Program with a full-time career, build healthy relationships with my children and family, and continue to progress in my recovery.
Thanks to The SoulFisher Ministries I love my life and I’m happy with myself. I feel wanted, loved, and accomplished. I will reach each milestone and continue on my path of recovery. For the first time ever in my life I can say I am sixteen months sober and can’t wait for my future.
Thank you for the opportunity to tell my story.